HTC EVO Shift 4G Hands-on
However, HTC isn't sitting pretty as the competition is spreading their Android offerings to other segments aside from the high-end category on Sprint's lineup. Moving right along, we now find the HTC EVO Shift 4G supplementing the Taiwanese company's presence while still retaining some of the elements that made its bigger brother such a hit across the board.
From afar, you're more than likely to mistaken it for the EVO 4G, but in fact, the HTC EVO Shift 4G packs on a landscape sliding physical keyboard. On the surface, it employs some of the same design cues found in use with its close relative, but there's nothing really too different about it that makes you perceive it as a completely original device. Nonetheless, it's still a decent looking industrial design, but doesn't necessarily compare to the styling of something more refined – like the T-Mobile G2, for instance. In addition to its sturdy feeling exterior, we're happy with the overall build quality, as it feels solidly built to provide with a sense of durability.
Sizing down to a 3.6” capacitive touchscreen, it makes the handset abundantly more manageable to hold in the hand, but doesn't skimp out in detail, since it retains the same WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. It's surely a nice looking display, but doesn't quite have that wow factor that's felt when looking at other display technologies. Still, it should suffice, as it feels fairly responsive to the touch, and packs plenty of pixels to its smaller real estate.
As for the landscape style keyboard, we're fairly satisfied with the layout, since buttons are decent in size, and offer a subtle response when pressed. In the short time we've been checking out the handset, we didn't have any issues in speed typing, since there is a decent amount of spacing between the keys to reduce accidental presses. Granted that you'll need to manually slide the handset to get its keyboard exposed, much like the Motorola DROID - it locks into place and has a little bit of resistance to it.
For the rest of the HTC EVO Shift 4G, we find things like an 800 MHz second generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, HD video recording, 512MB RAM, 2GB ROM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, aGPS, 1,500 mAh battery, Sense UI running on top of Android 2.2 Froyo, and of course, support for Sprint's WiMAX 4G network.
With that in tow, you'll surely find faster data speeds in locations that have the service available, but the one thing we find lacking on the handset is none other than a front facing camera. When you think about it, you'll need to pay that extra monthly data premium to use the device, but it doesn't offer the same video chatting functionality found on the HTC EVO 4G or the Samsung Epic 4G.
You won't have to wait long to get this device since it's going to become available starting January 9th for the on-contract price of $149.99 after a $100 mail-in-rebate. Interestingly, its lower price point just might potentially make all the difference for this Android powered smartphone – time will indeed tell!
2. Dreamer (unregistered)
No, this is just on Sprint at this time.
10. Itzatlas (Posts: 37; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)
There is one that looks similar to this coming out for Verizon called the HTC Merge.
3. oddmanout (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 May 2009)
Well actually, there is the HTC Merge. Its still unannounced but there's videos and pictures of early prototypes. Google it. Its just like EVO Shift. It was supposed to be announced last year but i think it was held back for verizons 4G LTE network... And now that it is here, I'm sure we should be hearing something about it soon.
4. Landmarkcm (Posts: 285; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)
No camera shutter button again?? Wonder if you can use the space bar?? Still sticking with my Pre
5. Socalvenom (unregistered)
I was able to upgrade to a new phone on the first day of January, but at the moment I'm not going to I mean Sprint has the Evo and The Epic plus the Evo Shift now yet I'm holding off just to see what else will come out all though If Sprint takes longer then expected I'll just switch no another carrier I'm not going to wait half a year for a better phone on Sprint when Other carriers will have better devices like the LG Optimus 2x and so forth and so on
6. Seylan (unregistered)
That orange colored D-pad looks HORRIBLE! In fact, that whole QWERTY keyboard looks ugly. FAIL
7. rupintart (unregistered)
I bought my gf one of these yesterday. They are pretty damn decent and although it runs froyo, it comes preinstalled with some apps that for the evo need to be dl'd like 4g a 4g switch, gps switch, etc. Overall, very happy with it. She likes that it has the keyboard, cause she prefers it over the onscreen keyboard on my evo....
8. rupintart (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Jan 2011)
Registered, so I can add to that. It also has a brushed aluminum surround, rather than plastic like the evo. Overall it feels very sturdy and the slide feels very stiff and positive. For $150, I don't think it can be beat. Oh, and I got it "early" because the lady said it wasn't to be available till the 9th, but Sprint sent out an eMail and it was available yesterday (Friday the 7th). Apparently, I was the first one in Florida to get one :)
9. Mike V (unregistered)
how did you like the keyboard? I'm interested in this or the Merge (although the lack of news is really hurting my chances of getting the Merge [last news was Nov 29th or so]).
Right now I'm waiting for either the Evo Shift 4g or the Merge since the Epic 4G will never be available as a GSM phone (this is the one with the keyboard, not the candybar ones)
11. James.L.Harris (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Jan 2011)
I have had some time to toy with this device. The key board is easy to use. I have always liked the build of the touch pro two and now that same build is used for an android device....rather than windows...
One complaint I have is the navigation of the phone while in landscape mode. The directional pad is awkward and would take some getting use to. Despite the navigation..I would still recommend this phone for users who like the evo style but want a keyboard. I'm a die hard evo fan and I have a hard time seeing htc sense on anything les than a 1ghz processor. I will say that because of the screen size reduction the 800mhz might cut it.
As for choosing this device over an Epic... I would say get the Epic... But Epic over Evo... My preference is Evo...Evo...EVO.
12. Danielle (unregistered)
Your post made me curious. You can use the Enter button on the keypad as a shutter button. Better than the on-screen one. One of the biggest flaws I've found so far is no built-in shutter/camera button.